Betrayed:Forbidden Series

By: Melody Anne

“I haven’t even given you his résumé yet. I can fax it over right after lunch,” McKenzie said. What was going on here? How could he turn down her accountant without knowing the fellow’s qualifications?

“I said I want you, McKenzie.”

She paused as she heard what he was saying. “I don’t go to work sites, Byron. Of course I am involved in all operations, but I have my own business to run,” she told him. “That’s why I hire capable employees and place them where they’re needed.”

He just shrugged. “Then I guess I’ll have to go somewhere else.”

She paused before speaking, not wanting to sound desperate, but also not wanting to lose this job. “Why don’t you just look over Jim Dallinger’s dossier? I assure you, Byron, he’s as qualified as I am, if not more so.”

“I won’t argue this point. Either I get you or there’s no deal.”

The waiter could probably feel the tension rolling off of her in waves as he replaced her barely touched salad with a cup of clam chowder.

“Did you order the entire meal?” she asked. She expressed enough vexation in her voice to show him she wasn’t pleased, but she was always careful. She knew better than to become over-the-top rude. Always keep them guessing.

“Yes, I did,” he replied, a challenge in his tone.

“Luckily, I’ve enjoyed the meal…so far,” she said, and she took a spoonful of the soup. She’d lost her pleasure in the food, though, as her irritation levels grew.

The SOB’s appetite wasn’t ruined in the least. “I don’t think they serve anything that’s less than stellar here, McKenzie.” After throwing her an annoying grin, he dug into his own chowder.

“How long are you expecting me to be the one working in your offices?” McKenzie finally asked when it was obvious he wasn’t going to speak again until she did.

“Until the job is finished.”

“That isn’t telling me much. What if this emergency ends up going over a month? I can’t leave my business that long. I could possibly fill in for a couple of weeks, maybe even a month, but there’s no way I would be able to work past that,” she said. If he wanted more of her time, she’d just have to turn down this job. What good would her company’s reputation be if it fell apart because she was working for him and not herself?

“I think thirty days would be sufficient,” he said.

It was his first compromise of the day.

“And if your current head of accounting isn’t in better health by then?” she pushed. She needed him to agree to thirty days max, or she wasn’t going to go along with this.

“At that time, I suppose, I’ll consider having one of your employees come in.”

“Is there a chance that one of my employees could come in sooner than the thirty days?”

He paused for several moments as he looked at her. “Anything is possible, McKenzie,” he said before giving her a wicked smile. “If my goals have been accomplished sooner, we will discuss other employment options.”

What in the hell did that mean? She wanted to shout out, Then why not now? But again, a tantrum wasn’t going to get her anywhere.

Something in his expression really pissed her off, but she didn’t want to go there. So her voice dripped honey when she said, “Thank you.” If only she could attract the bees to come and sting him.

His smile widened as if he knew exactly what she was thinking. Damn him.

“Now that the initial hard work is done, I will order some wine to go with our main course,” Byron said, holding up his hand. And the waiter practically appeared in a puff.

Their soup was taken away and placed before her was grilled Alaskan king salmon and a glass of fruity Pinot Noir.

With the possibility of gaining a big client but not being locked to Byron’s side for an unlimited time, her appetite returned, and she thanked the waiter. It was too much of a stretch to thank Byron. She hated presumptuous men like him. Where did the guy come off thinking she wasn’t intelligent enough to order her own meal? She happened to like salmon — wild salmon, of course — but what if she hadn’t been a seafood fan? Did he expect her to eat the meal anyway? Most likely. That was what men like Byron Knight always expected — for a woman just to give in to what they wanted.

The two of them filled the next little while with more precise questions and answers about his accounting problems, and then it was finally time to go. Even though the meal had been fantastic, the company hadn’t been exactly pleasant, and McKenzie had a whole heck of a lot to do the rest of the day and all weekend, for that matter, if she wanted to get any sleep at all while working in the Knight brothers’ building instead of her own.

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